Unprecedented numbers of us are taking to the outdoors, in part driven by the COVID-pandemic and a renewed interest in local adventure, but also driven by increasing availability of affordable kit and gear. Sales of kayaks, paddleboards, wetsuits, dry robes and surfboards are soaring, and swim spots, climbing walls and surf breaks are getting busier and busier, dare we say ‘crowded’.
For those of us that work in the outdoor industry, this growth is exciting; a sector set for continuous economic opportunity and from a health perspective, increasing numbers of people are feeling the physical and mental health benefits from access to green and blue spaces.
But, there are opportunities from an environmental standpoint too. As more of us experience the beauty of nature, connecting landscapes and places more closely, awareness grows. As does the desire to protect, conserve, and regenerate our planet.
But, this trajectory of a growing army of healthy, blue planet protectors is not an inevitability. If we do not manage the growth of the industry carefully we risk a ‘catch 22’ scenario; creating greater environmental damage.
Increasing sales of cheap kit that doesn’t last and isn’t necessarily needed risks creating greater damage to our natural world. As will more travel, pollution and litter. On the social front, crowds of city dwellers and day trippers swarming surf spots, crags, lakes and rivers risk treating the natural world like a gym, in turn annoying locals and those that came before.
To address this issue, Blue Earth Summit partners, Adventure Uncovered, will be hosting a panel discussion moderated by their Editor, Rose Riley, titled ‘How do We Grow a New generation of Outdoor Stewards?
Panelists taking to the stage are Dave Turnbull, CEO of British Mountaineering Council, Hannah Bailey, Photographer and Outdoor Consultant at Patagonia, Adam Hall, Head of Sustainability at Surfdome and Yvette Curtis, Founder of Wave Wahines. The panel will confront the issues head-on, addressing and focusing on the following key topics:
• How do we guide the growth of the industry in an impactful way that nurtures an army of climate conscious outdoor enthusiasts and regenerates the planet’s resources?
• How can we manage the growth of the outdoor industry so we promote the positive opportunities and mitigate these potential challenges?
• What responsibility do we have as an industry and as outdoor enthusiasts who love our lands and oceans and want to protect them?
In addition, the ‘Pitch Tent: Pioneering Adventures’ category presented by Adventure Uncovered will be taking place on Tuesday 11th October at the Blue Earth Summit. This will see non-profit organisations and explorers the opportunity to pitch an adventure with purpose, to gain financial backing or logistical support from a room full of potential sponsors and investors.
And, if that’s got you geared up for some outdoor inspiration, Adventure Uncovered will be hosting their Film Festival on Wednesday evening at the Blue Earth Summit.